By Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com
Three short months separate us from the end of 2014, and most businesses have begun to prep for the end of the year. But ramping up stock and staff to deal with the holiday rush shouldn’t be the only jobs on your to-do list. There is a right way, and a wrong way, to end the year. Instead of focusing solely on operations for the rest of the year, give a little attention to other facets of your company and take the steps necessary to start 2015 strong by…
Getting a handle on your taxes
If your fiscal year ends in December, your fourth quarter estimated payment isn’t due until January 15th, and your returns don’t have to be filed until April 15th. However, a little bit of work right now will make the tax season less stressful. Get all of your books in order and review what estimated payments you have been sending in. Compare that to your actual quarterly earnings and make sure you’ve been sending in enough to cover your tax burden. Getting your financial records in order will also make the end of the year meeting with your accountant much more productive, as they’ll have to spend less time tracking inconsistencies in your finances.
Updating your company
Take a long, hard look at your business – check out your office, your site, your storefront, your logo, your operating software. Does everything look good? Does it work well? Or is it time to update? After you review your finances, see if you have any extra money to invest it back into your business by buying new office furniture, polishing your site, or investing in your company’s IT. In fact, you could recover all, or at least part, of the cost of qualified purchases in next year’s tax return!
Protecting your business and property
Filing paperwork with the state and federal government probably isn’t high on your to-do list, but if you haven’t filed to protect your intellectual property or to form a separate business entity, you are putting your business, and your own well being, at risk. Too many small businesses put off filing because they see themselves as insignificant – no one would ever want to steal their logo or sue them. But that’s a pretty destructive attitude, and you certainly don’t want to look back and regret not forming an LLC or filing a trademark. With that said, if you have put off incorporating or forming an LLC until the end of the year, consider a delayed filing. The end of the year is one of the busiest times for state offices, and opting for a delayed filing will put your paperwork at the top of next year’s applications. Plus if your file goes through before the end of the year, you could be on the hook for your state’s 2014 fees, even though your business entity only existed through the last few months of the year.
Now the end of the year is always a busy time for business owners, but a few small changes during these last few months could really help prepare your company for next year. Take a little bit of time to review your finances before meeting your accountant, invest any extra money back into your business, and file the forms necessary to protect your intellectual and personal property. This may seem like a lot of work, but if you break it up into manageable chunks, you’ll be in a great position to start 2015.
About the Author:
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.